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welcome to "newsline." palestinians are furious over what they consider to be a lifeline. they will destroy all smuggling tunnels linking egypt and the gaza strip. the judge ruled they are illegal and pose a threat to national security. pal tin palestinians use the tunnels to get tin pa tunnels to get around.l tin pal tunnels to get around. tin pale tunnels to get around.tin paless to get palestinians u
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to get around.n palestinians us to get around. palestinians useo get around.palestinians use the get around. the blockade has been in place since 2007. morsi has expressed his intention to help people. palestinians in gaza are criticizing the court ruling. >> translator: the gaza strip is under seize. all the borders are closed. the tunnels are the only lifeline for the strip. this is an unjust decision against us. >> hundreds of the tunnels big and small link gaza with egypt. representatives of world powers are getting ready to meet in rome to talk about more ways to help the syrian opposition bring down president assad. kerry met french president in
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paris ahead of the international meeting. >> we all agree that the time is passed for president assad to heed the voice of his people and the people in the world who want a peaceful transition and a new opportunity for syria. >> kerry says assad needs to know he cannot shoot his way out of the current situation. he says representatives of western countries the will focus on the transition issue during their meeting on thursday. delegates from six major powers wrapped up talks from their counter parts from iran on the country's nuclear program and promised to meet again. they proposed a gradual easing of sanctions. iranian representatives are reacting positively to the idea. representatives of the five permanent members of the u.n. security council met. they want leaders in tehran to
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scale back their nuclear ambitions. the foreign policy chief chaired the two-day talks. the iranians sent their top nuclear negotiator. the proposal hostile actions should cease. details of the proposal have not been revealed. the delegates agreed to meet in mid-april for further talks. they also said they would get experts together next month for technical discussions. factory workers in japan are making sure they get plenty of rest on their days off. their workdays are getting
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busier. you have the latest in industrial data. >> they are producing more and more goods. the industrial output grew in january. that's the second straight month. production has bottomed out and showing some signs of picking up. ministry officials said the figure rose 1% from the previous month. the growth is due to semiconductor memory chips and large passenger cars. output will continue to rise in the coming months. the ministry expect production to rise 5.3% in february and 0.3% in march. they estimate production will grow. the head of the u.s. federal reserve ben bernanke has defended the central bank's policy of monetary easing. he's aiming to eliminate speculation the bank will scale back asset buying sooner than
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expected. bernanke testified before house of representatives lawmakers on wednesday. >> significant majority of the committee is supportive of the policies we have taken. we haven't done a new review of the exit strategy yet. i think we will have to do that sometime soon. we're quite comfortable we can exit in way that's both smooth and in which we provide lots of information to markets in advance so they will know what's coming and be able to anticipate it. >> bernanke referred to monetary policy in japan saying policy had been too cautious in the past. bernanke noted that the new prime minister and his nominee for bank of japan governor will likely push for bold monetary measures to end deflation. let's get a check on the
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markets. tokyo share prices are trading higher today with export related stocks leading the gains. investors are feeling positive. better than expected housing numbers are also providing a boost. the nikkei has a begin of 2% from wednesday's close. the dollar is higher against the yen. participants are optimistic as data on pending home sales beat market expectations. that pair being quoted at 121.64
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to 67. south korea's kospi jumped 2% higher. 2,027. let's see what's going nin australia. we'll see where china takes us when they open over the next hour. the japanese government aims to double its consumption tax rate over the next year and a half but that will likely not be enough the turn around the country's finances and that's due to balloons social security and debt servicing costs. the finance ministry calculation suggest the government must cut spending if the budget deficit is to be reduced. the estimate shows tax revenue will surge to over $600 billion fiscal 2016. that will be the first year with a tax rate of 10%. the increase in tax revenue is
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estimated at more than $150 billion compared to fiscal 2012. expenditure is expected to soar by more than $150 billion by 2016. officials say the decline in corporate output has bottomed out. the quarterly report is released by the cabinet office. it says falling output of automobiles and components for smartphones has hit bottom thanks to recovering exports. the report also cites steady consumer spending led by strong sales of winter clothing in colder than average weather. it's the first time in more than ten years the cabinet office has announced an all around upgrade. the last time was in 2002 when
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the economy started to pick up after the tech knowledge market collapsed. that's the latest in business for this hour. i'll leave you with a check on markets. environment ministry officials in japan are tightening up regulations to deal with pollution blowing in from china. they've set new guidelines and will issue more specific warnings to people when air quality deteriorates. residents of a number of chinese cities have been dealing with smog for weeks. emissions from cars and factories contain something
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called fine particulate matter. it can cause asthma, bronchitis, and other health problems. environment ministry officials in tokyo consulted experts. then they decided they would issue warnings to residents when forecasters believe fine particulate matter could reach 70 micrograms per cubic meter of air. that's double the existing standard. officials say at that point they'll tell people to stay indoors and shut their windows. they say children, the elderly, and those with asthma should be especially cautious at any time. these people may be affected by even low levels of pollution. japanese nationals in india are also worried about worsening air pollution there. officials at japan's embassy in new delhi have advised them to stay indoors on days when there are high levels of smog. the embassy issues the notification on wednesday. it says an indian government survey on airborne particulate matter detected an annualized average of 89 micrograms per
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cubic meter. that's nine times the limit set by the world health organization. one of the most isolated countries in the world is showing some signs of openness. north korea will allow foreigners in the country to access the internet through their mobile phones and other devices. the pyongyang bureau of the associated press reports the new service is being provided by a joint venture between local and egyptian cell phone companies. foreign residents living in the capital were informed last week of the internet service launch. on monday the bureau head of a.p. for south and north korea sent a twitter message from pyongyang saying she was using the kodio link service. earlier this year north korea allowed foreigners to bring their own mobile phones into the country. pyongyang watchers say these moves could be an attempt to attract more visitors from abroad and earn foreign currency by improving telecommunications infrastructure. however, north korean citizens
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are still not allowed access to such services. with have his story from pakistan. >> reporter: this tv commercial is widely popular in pakistan. it features this performer. it's the pakistan take on the british icon. the mr. bean corrector was
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created by comedian robert atkinson. he won enormous worldwide popularity in the 1990s. the tv comedy takes the director from the original british program and transplants him into situations in pakistan. >> translator: my kids love him. they're always watching.
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>> translator: we are bombarded every day with bad news. he helps us relax a bit. >> reporter: he is played by 35-year-old mohamad asif. when he was young his father die and he was forced to leave school. after leaving junior high he found work in his hometown. this one video clip turned around his life. one of his friends posted the footage online three years ago it became a wide hit in the country. a local tv station started to take notice. he gave up his day job as a
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cotton trader and made the risky transition to show business. he had only one thought in his mind. >> translator: i decided to become an entertaining because terrorist attacks were rampid in our country. we were swamped with bad news. i wanted to become a mr. bean look a like and bring smiles back to people's faces. >> reporter: he now knows about his counter part on the other side of the world. the sponsor of the atd, a pakistani bank sent the footage to the british actor. >> he finally saw the film and his reaction was he's a bit chubby. that was his reaction. i think that's an approval. we were happy to know he's fine
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with it. >> translator: i feel truly honored to be recognized by the great mr. bean. i'm determined to do my utmost to entertain people. >> reporter: asif uses humor to dispel the clouds that hang over pakistani. his show remains in high demand. officials at japan's nuclear regulatory body have released new evacuation guidelines for any future nuclear power plant disaster. the announcement is about one month behind schedule. the nuclear regulation authority says residents within five kilometers of a disaster-stricken nuclear plant must evacuate before the release of radioactive substances. iodine tablets will be distributed to households within five kilometers of a nuclear plant. iodine helps prevent the thyroid
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gland from absorbing radioactivity. residents within a 5 to 30 kilometer radius will be asked to evacuate if radiation levels reach 500 microsieverts per hour. the new guidelines replace measures set in october last year. in compiling their review, officials spent more than two weeks from the end of last month gathering over 3,000 opinions from the public on what to include in the new guidelines. among the opinions, some people said iodine tablets should be distributed over a wider area. others called for lowering the radiation level requiring evacuation. however, almost none of these views are reflected in the guidelines. nra officials say they drew up the new rules based on lessons from the march 11th disaster in 2011. now the guidelines are set. local governments within 30 kilometers of a nuclear plant must review by march 18th their
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own disaster preparedness programs. but due to the nra's delay, many have yet to decide on evacuation methods and locations. 4 million tourists visit hokkaido every year to see what's been described as a million-dollar view. they head up a mountain in the city of hakodate at night to see the twinkling lights. but the only nuclear plant in the area has been shut down, and people need to cut back on power. so they're caught in a dilemma. nhk world's toshiyasa sato has the story. >> reporter: seen from above, hakodate looks like a -- especially when the lights reflect off the winter snow. the city has been figuring out how to cut power usage by 7% compared to 2010 without dimming its beautiful nightscape. orio kakutawa stands in the middle of hakodate. it has 20 large floodlights
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which illuminates a tower from below. lights were removed from the back of the tower. from that angle it seems just the save. >> translator: we want to preserve hakodate's nightscape, but we have to conserve energy. so we came up with this idea. >> reporter: hakodate's old public hall is another famous tourist site. however, the numerous
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incandescent bulbs in the large chandeliers consume far too much power. so when there are no visitors, the lights are turned off. monitors check when visitors arrive and leave. it's a lot more effort, but they've been able to cut power consumption by 11%. >> translator: it's a lot of work turning the lights on and off and staying alert all the time. >> reporter: despite these
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efforts, some people still feel that hakodate has lost some of its glitter. so local volunteers on mount hakodate have come up with a plan. >> translator: to conserve electricity the lights are dimmer. but let me show a way to make it seem brighter. close your eyes. one. two. three. okay. now look. >> reporter: as visitors open their eyes the lights below seem to twinkle and dance. >> translator: it felt as if i was seeing twice as much light, going from pitch darkness to this brilliant view was amazing. >> reporter: some of the lights of hakodate may have been turned off. but the magic of this night view
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in winter remains undimmed. toshi yasasato, nhk world, hakodate. a 114-year-old japanese has been officially recognized as the world's oldest woman. officials from guinness world records have presented a formal sophisticate to misao okawa at a nursing home in osaka. okawa was born in the city in 1898. she's lived in the home since 1997. nurses say she operates her wheelchair and moves around the facility by herself on good days. they say she has a good appetite and enjoys sashimi and sushi. the world's oldest man also lives in japan. 115-year-old jiroyen kimura is from kyoto prefecture. time now to get a check on the weather.
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people in tokyo are enjoying sunny skies. >> high pressure is covering much of japan. in tokyo the high is expected to be 14 degrees. we see this number in late march. the warmth will affect northern japan. melting snow could cause some avalanches and blizzard conditions will come back to northern japan over the weekend as a new system is approaching from the west. right now the system is producing increasing snow and the winds in north eastern china up to 15 centimeters of snow. the snowy weather and wet conditions will spread to the korean peninsula by tonight. once the system moves through temperatures will go down quite
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sharply. on thursday in seoul your high is expected to be 12 degrees. it will fall to 3 degrees on friday and rainy weather. what a change in store for you. tokyo 17 degrees on friday but will plummet to only 12 degrees after rain comes in on friday night. changing weather is definitely a sign of spring. unlike east asia sfripring is taking time to sthoe up in europe as cold air continues to blanket. temperatures running below average. i want to show you some video coming out of spain. heavy snow and bitter cold have hit most parts of spain. rain has blanketed madrid for the first time this winter. temperatures fell below freezing and in some places to minus 10 degrees. the last big snowfall was
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decades ago. several stores are closed in the north. snow has let up in the north. however the central and southern parts of spain will remain at risk of heavy snow and an additional 50 centimeters of snow is likely. that could cause slip and fall accidents. be careful when walking. out toward the east the weather is coming to an end across the ball can peninsula. up towards the north wet and windy conditions remaining in norway but for the rest of europe staying dry. temperatures are running below seasonal in many locations in europe. australia we've been monitoring a cyclone. it has weakened and speeding up. right now it's situated over here.
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this is the desert area so rain could cause flash floods. still an additional 150 millimeter is likely for locations and strong winds could cause sand storms. these are the threats we should consider for the next couple of days. it's now on the weakening strachantratrack. here is your extended forecast. ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ and that's all for this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. thanks for joining us.
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